Why is Rey such a great hero?

***SPOILERS AHEAD*** Heroes are an interesting character type. Not every protagonist is a hero, far from it. Most stories are about relatively ordinary people going on journeys and overcoming challenges. But there is no challenge too great for the hero. Need a dragon slain, an innocent rescued, a Death Star explodeyed? The hero is yourContinue reading “Why is Rey such a great hero?”

Writing is the best therapy

Perhaps I overstate my case. If writing isn’t THE best therapy. It’s a very good one. And an excellent article at Harvard Business Review sheds some light on why. I am not alone in believing that writing can have a stress reducing and revelatory effect. A research psychologist at the University of Texas, James Pennebaker,Continue reading “Writing is the best therapy”

The teachings of Alan Watts animated by the makers of South Park

Yes, the creators of South Park have given many gifts to the world. Now they’ve turned their attention to Buddhism and Zen philosopher Alan Watts by animating a selection of his teachings, in their usually hilarious and irreverent style. It’s wonderful. Press play and enjoy. And match Watt’s spoken word with his written thoughts inContinue reading “The teachings of Alan Watts animated by the makers of South Park”

The five spiritual principles that lead to true power

Power is an inescapable aspect of modern life. Our work places, social lives and even families are often made harder by the struggle for power, status, money and control. Everyone hates “office politics” but we all get sucked in to the dynamics of human power far more often than we would like. But sometimes theContinue reading “The five spiritual principles that lead to true power”

Alan Watts explains the myth of the Fully Automatic universe

Zen Buddhist philosopher Alan Watts explains the two myths that have governed how humans see the universe for over 2000 years – the Ceramic and the Fully Automatic models of reality. What is the third model that helps us see reality more clearly? Alan Watts – The Ceramic and the Fully Automatic – YouTube.

Writing is hard because we like it that way

My friend and fellow word-herder Will Buckingham has something  to say about the pleasure – and pain – of writing. In short Mr. Buckingham believes writers like to big up the misery experienced while writing in order make ourselves look all brooding, dark and mysterious, instead of the shallow pleasure seekers we truly are. Well,Continue reading “Writing is hard because we like it that way”

Success. It’s not what you think it is.

The problem with success is, it never ends. We talk a lot about success even when we don’t use the word. Who has the best job. The biggest house. The handsomest lover. I’d make a poetic list but you get the idea. As  humans we waste most of our time chasing after success, in one formContinue reading “Success. It’s not what you think it is.”

Everything that’s wrong with the Men’s Rights movement summarised

I had been ignoring the Men’s Rights movement as one of the many pointless things that finds a space on the internet, until I wrote about the male bias in geek culture recently. That column for The Guardian produced a torrent of bile from hundreds of male commenters. Many identified as Men’s Rights activists. TheContinue reading “Everything that’s wrong with the Men’s Rights movement summarised”

Stop wasting your time on trivia

A thought for the new year of 2014. There is a lot of noise in modern life. Finding your meaning is sometimes a matter of filtering everything out except the signal you need. Set aside anything you do that is on this list. Competing for status baubles. Trying to look like someone on TV. ComparingContinue reading “Stop wasting your time on trivia”

The Death of Advertising

Autoplay video ads are popping up all over the internet. Facebook will be putting them in your feed soon (yet another reason to vacate Facebook for any serious purpose) But don’t take this as a sign of behemoth advertising dominating the internet. It’s the last gasp of a dying industry. The real money in advertisingContinue reading “The Death of Advertising”

The revolution will not be realism

We live in times of immense change. Technology is a tool of change, but it’s the lives and desires of all seven billion humans on the planet really driving change. And, whether you welcome the change or not (I’m among those greeting it with open arms) you can’t doubt that it is very real. ButContinue reading “The revolution will not be realism”

The Tao that can be told is not the true Tao

I’ve been re-reading the Tao Te Ching this week, inspired to return to the ancient text by my review of Ursula Le Guin’s selected stories for my Weird Things column at The Guardian. The text is one of Le Guin’s favourites, and a life long influence over her writing and philosophy. I first read itContinue reading “The Tao that can be told is not the true Tao”